A brand of almond milk has been linked to a case of botulism in Australia.
Inside Out Nutritious Goods has recalled JS Health x Inside Out Unsweetened Almond Milk Collagen + Calcium + Prebiotics that was sold in Woolworths stores in New South Wales (NSW). The 1-liter product has a use-by date of March 1, 2023.
The problem was identified when a person experienced severe symptoms of botulism after drinking the dairy alternative. This person was hospitalized and they are continuing to receive treatment.
Initial investigations by authorities have confirmed the presence of botulinum toxin in a product sample. The NSW Food Authority is investigating the manufacturing process to determine the cause of contamination.
Botulism is a rare but life-threatening condition caused by toxins produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
NSW Health advised people not to consume the beverage. The agency said the recalled product is not safe and asked people to check their refrigerators and cupboards. If consumers have purchased the affected drink, they are advised to throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a refund.
Botulism is extremely rare in Australia with 26 cases recorded since the collection of national notification data began in 1992. Only three of these have been foodborne.
Official advice and company response
Keira Glasgow, director of NSW Health’s One Health branch, said botulism toxins could be extremely dangerous and cause life-threatening illnesses.
“Early symptoms of foodborne botulism include weakness, fatigue, and vertigo. While these symptoms occur commonly due to a number of health conditions, botulism is usually followed by blurred vision, dry mouth, and difficulty swallowing. Nausea and vomiting may also occur,” she said.
“These symptoms can progress to paralysis of the arm muscles and continue down the body to the trunk and legs, and paralysis of breathing muscles can be fatal. We are urging anyone who has consumed this product and experiences these serious symptoms to seek immediate medical attention. Most cases recover if diagnosed and treated early.”
Inside Out Nutritious Goods said it was focused on the health and safety of customers and took any potential contamination issue extremely seriously.
“Our thoughts are with the affected customer and we wish them a speedy recovery. As soon as we were informed of a potential contamination issue, we commenced a voluntary recall and have been providing every assistance to the relevant authorities. We are working with NSW Health and the NSW Food Authority to investigate what has happened. Inside Out is also engaging independent experts to investigate the matter,” said a company statement.
In foodborne botulism, symptoms generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating contaminated food. However, they can start as soon as six hours or up to 10 days later.
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